Despite reported deal, no Parcells announcement

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks with the media, Saturday, Dec. 21, before the Cowboys game with the Philadelphia Eagles in Irving, Texas. Jones said he had not made a decision on who will coach the Cowboys next season amid rumors that he met with Bill Parcells on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, January 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2002 at 11:51 p.m.

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Jerry Jones knows all about Bill Parcells' history of walking away from deals. So the Dallas Cowboys' owner wants to announce an agreement as soon as he can.

As of Tuesday, he was still waiting. And he probably will be until at least Thursday, despite reports that Parcells already has agreed to a four-year contract to coach the team.

Newsday reported on its Web site Tuesday night that the Cowboys would formally introduce Parcells as their coach on Thursday.

Maybe nothing more than logistics and the New Year's holiday are in the way. Still, Parcells' track record raises some doubt about whether the coach known for turning around woeful teams will try doing so with the Cowboys.

Parcells jilted Tampa Bay twice and Atlanta once. Last year, he got so close with the Buccaneers that he signed a contract, and now Tampa Bay wants compensation from any team that hires him. The Bucs will present their case to the commissioner's office Thursday.

Two sources within the league told The Associated Press that the Bucs would not receive any compensation because the deal Parcells signed was not forwarded to the league office and therefore never approved by commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

The Cowboys' job opened Monday when Dave Campo was fired after three straight 5-11 seasons.

While making that announcement, Jones said he had already interviewed Parcells and former Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green, and that he'd like to have a replacement "before the week is out."

The Dallas Morning News, citing an unidentified source, reported Tuesday that Parcells accepted a four-year contract that will pay about $4.5 million a season, let him hire his assistants and give him a strong say on roster decisions. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, citing unidentified sources, reported similar financial terms.

Parcells, however, told several New York newspapers that nothing was completed, although he acknowledged that a deal could soon be reached.

Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said Tuesday no announcements were planned. Parcells' agent, Jimmy Sexton, did not return calls to The Associated Press.

Emphasizing "a change in philosophy," Jones said he'd like his next coach to be a proven success in the NFL. None of the Cowboys' previous five coaches had ever been an NFL head coach.

Until there's officially a deal between Parcells and Jones, speculation continues about whether the two can get along.

The last time Jones had such a strong personality as head coach, Jimmy Johnson left after winning two straight Super Bowls. Jones has run the football operations since.

The last time Parcells didn't have control of the front office, he left the New England Patriots after losing the Super Bowl. He was coach and general manager at his next job, with the New York Jets.

While Jones is still driven by wanting to win without Johnson, a more immediate concern is revitalizing the team to keep money flowing from contracts with sponsors, and sales of luxury suites and season tickets.

The team's marketing campaign last season was based on Emmitt Smith's pursuit of the NFL career rushing record. Unless a big-name coach is hired, there's little else to pump in 2003.

Parcells would provide plenty of hype, especially with the upcoming schedule featuring the three teams he's coached (Giants, Patriots and Jets), plus the two he turned down (Bucs, Falcons).

And his track record indicates he can have an immediate impact.

All three teams he's coached had losing records before he took over and made the playoffs in his second season.

He won Super Bowls in his fourth and eighth seasons with the Giants and got the Patriots to the Super Bowl in his fourth season. The Jets reached the AFC championship game in his second season.

Over 15 seasons, Parcells' record is 149-106-1, plus 11-6 in playoffs. Only Tom Landry, Don Shula and Chuck Noll have won more playoff games.

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